The Olivetti-Montefiore Torah Curtain (Parokhet), Pesaro, Italy, 1620.
This very early Torah Ark curtain was embroidered in 1620 by Rachel Olivetti of Pesaro, on the occasion of her marriage to her husband, Judah Montefiore. Its focal point is a poem, embroidered between two arched columns, adorned with intricate vegetal and floral ornaments. Two family coats of arms appear below the text: a dove holding an olive branch, representing the Olivetti family, and a lion standing on a mountain, holding a flower, representing the Montefiore family (mount of flowers in Italian). The verse expresses praise for the marriage of the couple:
The gates of the Temple open on the great occasion of the Montefiore family / An olive branch is held by the dove, its beauty seen by all / Light coming out of the Temple will return inwards / Rachel and Yehuda are joining Beit Israel / The lily is held in the lion’s hand, its beauty radiating and shining.